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Krislv

Customs Charges

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My husband and I were on a recent Norwegian Dawn cruise sailing out of San Juan.  We purchased a watch at the duty free store located on the ship and were told that there would be no taxes or duty due on this item. Upon providing our Ship Card when disembarking the ship, our name was flagged and we were escorted off the ship. We thought that the private escort was because we had a Penthouse Suite until they walked us past all lines and brought us to a separate customs room.  Here they asked us to fill out a Customs form declaring any purchases made on board.  Of course we declared what we purchased, and we were charged a duty fee of $45. It's obvious that our purchase was flagged in their system. It's not a large fee, but it's puzzling because we were specifically told there would be no further fees. I'm trying to reach Norwegian for clarification, but am wondering if anyone else has experienced this.  TIA

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That is protocol here in Seattle as well.  The ship reports large purchases and at disembarkation you are escorted to customs. 

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Customs allows approximately $400 per person to be brought into the country duty free. Anything over that must have customs paid. This includes items bought at foreign ports as well as on board.

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"Duty free" in the shop means that no customs duty has been paid so far. It doesn't guarantee that your home country won't charge any.

 

It seems to me that the personal exemption in the U.S. is usually $800 and I think families can pool their personal exemptions.

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Thanks so much for all of your responses! The item was well over $800..so based on the info you all provided, I definitely owed. I was just confused because the sales person said that there would be no further taxes or duty that had to be paid (maybe I misunderstood him). The fee wasn’t huge....and it essentially let us skip the long lines getting off the ship:)

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Posted (edited)

Krislv, you are correct.  $800 was your duty free for the United States; based on family allowance.   Anything over that is what you paid.  You are good to go.

Edited by AF-1

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"Duty free" refers to export duty, the duty you pay to export goods from a country. When you buy something at a duty free store that is what they mean. Import duty is another thing entirely and that is what you paid to import the goods into the US. The $800 is the personal exemption and families can combine their personal exemptions (at least up to a point, it's been a while since I've read through the exemptions).

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The sales person probably did tell you that.  And I'm sure they know better.  I was in a jewelry store in Nassau and heard a clerk tell a woman that if she was wearing the jewelry when she debarked, she wouldn't have to pay duty on it.  There are some things that you would not need to pay duty on.  Some things, particularly crafts, that are made in the country where you purchased them.  that's a rough simplification.  Also, if you buy EFFY jewelry in a port of call or on the ship, you don't need to pay tax or duty because it is actually made in the US, so you are really taking it back to the country of origin.  EM

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One thing to keep in mind as well, most of the recommended stores in ports will also transmit this information back.

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6 hours ago, Krislv said:

Thanks so much for all of your responses! The item was well over $800..so based on the info you all provided, I definitely owed. I was just confused because the sales person said that there would be no further taxes or duty that had to be paid (maybe I misunderstood him). The fee wasn’t huge....and it essentially let us skip the long lines getting off the ship:)

At least it was only $45 extra and not a huge amount.

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I have a friend who recently had a similar experience ....

 

on a cruise they bought 'a lot' let's say .... but having cruised a lot they "knew" that even when they filled out the old blue form, the Customs guys didn't look very close .......

 

They spent a good bit in the shops on the ship ... and ashore .... more than in cruises of old ......

 

They were in a suite

 

Exiting the ship they were met by a porter (cuz we're suite folks) and taken to a Customs person.  Mrs is invited to go get their bags and Mr is handed "the form" and asked to fill it out.  (it gets fun from here)

 

Mr writes down a couple of things they bought but does not want the form to say they exceeded their limit ..... so does not include everything they were bringing in.  (Can you see where this is going . . . .)

 

Mr ICE guy looks at the form and hands it back and asks ... would you like to amend this? And Mr STILL does not report fully "cuz they never look very close at the form" as he explained this to me.

 

By this time, Mrs has arrived with the bags ... Mr ICE is a wee bit annoyed and wellllllllll ..... actually in the end Mr ICE gave them a break on their $$$

 

Mrs is AGHAST that the ship told ICE what they'd spent and "screwed them" cuz they did nothing wrong cuz in the past ICE never looked ..... the ship is to blame for outing us . . . .

 

I keep trying to explain they broke the law .........

 

btw

 

if you fail to declare anything you SHOULD have declared ... this can NO LONGER be considered under your exemption .... that's how I read the laws anyway.   

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1 hour ago, Capt_BJ said:

I have a friend who recently had a similar experience ....

 

on a cruise they bought 'a lot' let's say .... but having cruised a lot they "knew" that even when they filled out the old blue form, the Customs guys didn't look very close .......

 

They spent a good bit in the shops on the ship ... and ashore .... more than in cruises of old ......

 

They were in a suite

 

Exiting the ship they were met by a porter (cuz we're suite folks) and taken to a Customs person.  Mrs is invited to go get their bags and Mr is handed "the form" and asked to fill it out.  (it gets fun from here)

 

Mr writes down a couple of things they bought but does not want the form to say they exceeded their limit ..... so does not include everything they were bringing in.  (Can you see where this is going . . . .)

 

Mr ICE guy looks at the form and hands it back and asks ... would you like to amend this? And Mr STILL does not report fully "cuz they never look very close at the form" as he explained this to me.

 

By this time, Mrs has arrived with the bags ... Mr ICE is a wee bit annoyed and wellllllllll ..... actually in the end Mr ICE gave them a break on their $$$

 

Mrs is AGHAST that the ship told ICE what they'd spent and "screwed them" cuz they did nothing wrong cuz in the past ICE never looked ..... the ship is to blame for outing us . . . .

 

I keep trying to explain they broke the law .........

 

btw

 

if you fail to declare anything you SHOULD have declared ... this can NO LONGER be considered under your exemption .... that's how I read the laws anyway.   

Mr. CBP, not Mr. ICE, two different missions.:classic_wink: And if you don't declare something CBP can confiscate the item if they choose to. It pays to be upfront with them, because most of the time they will waive the fees if you aren't too far over you exemption amount.

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Here they asked us to fill out a Customs form declaring any purchases made on board. 


Mr is handed "the form" and asked to fill it out.

I find the above statements confusing, because every time I've taken a cruise, a Customs form was delivered to my cabin so that I could fill it out ahead of time, before I got off the ship.

 

One thing to keep in mind as well, most of the recommended stores in ports will also transmit this information back.

I've heard this, and I've heard that if you don't declare an item, but that item is found in your bag and you are forced to come clean and wind up paying a fine, the store gets a financial reward.

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I have not had a customs form provided in at least two years.  

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I just checked, and the last time I took a cruise was in March of 2016, so I guess they have stopped giving out Customs forms ahead of time.  I'm going on a cruise in May, so I'll know not to expect a form to be delivered to my cabin.  I wonder if they will have them somewhere so that I can request one.  I would rather fill it out ahead of time, not as I'm actually getting off the ship.

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22 minutes ago, Julie MacCoy said:

I just checked, and the last time I took a cruise was in March of 2016, so I guess they have stopped giving out Customs forms ahead of time.  I'm going on a cruise in May, so I'll know not to expect a form to be delivered to my cabin.  I wonder if they will have them somewhere so that I can request one.  I would rather fill it out ahead of time, not as I'm actually getting off the ship.

You are not required to fill them out unless you've purchased more than your allowance. 

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Oh, I didn't realize that.  I thought that everyone had to fill them out.  Thank you for the information.

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We went to Scotland with a friend (land not cruise).

 

Our friend carefully wrote down everything she bought to bring back.  When she filled out her I-94 form, she was at like $850.

 

We told her to round down to $800.  But no, she is not that type of person.

 

The personal exemption was $800, but the duty on the next $800 is very low percentage.  So the duty was going to be about $1.  So, she goes to the something to declare line, hands the Customs officer (pre-CBP) her form, he looks at it and gets a pained look.

 

Then he notices she did not have a suitcase.  So he asked where her suitcase was.  She told him, it had not arrived (we had had a plane change in I think AMS).  He smiles and tells her, Oh, then it doesn't count, you are fine.   😄

 

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Just now, SRF said:

Then he notices she did not have a suitcase.  So he asked where her suitcase was.  She told him, it had not arrived (we had had a plane change in I think AMS).  He smiles and tells her, Oh, then it doesn't count, you are fine.   😄

 

Do you go through immigration/customs  AFTER baggage claim in the USA??

 

Here we do the customs/immigration check prior to baggage claim so we only have carry on with us anyway

 

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In the US, you claim your baggage first so they can search it if they need to.

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Just now, BDRebel said:

In the US, you claim your baggage first so they can search it if they need to.

thanks

here they mark your card  & if  the wrong mark they nab you on the way out of baggage claim area  😉

 

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4 hours ago, LHT28 said:

Do you go through immigration/customs  AFTER baggage claim in the USA??

 

Here we do the customs/immigration check prior to baggage claim so we only have carry on with us anyway

 

Here in Australia we do immigration, then baggage then customs.

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On 3/24/2019 at 3:02 PM, Julie MacCoy said:

I just checked, and the last time I took a cruise was in March of 2016, so I guess they have stopped giving out Customs forms ahead of time.  I'm going on a cruise in May, so I'll know not to expect a form to be delivered to my cabin.  I wonder if they will have them somewhere so that I can request one.  I would rather fill it out ahead of time, not as I'm actually getting off the ship.

Yes, they have them at Guest Services and people are expected to know what they need to declare.

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